Monday 29 April 2013

PUNK+ The Photographs of Sheila Rock: New Limited Edition Punk Rock Photo Book out now from FirstThird Books

Buzzcocks by Sheila Rock
Legendary London fashion emporium Browns on South Molton Street, played host to the launch of PUNK+, an independently produced, limited edition, superb quality book that presents a fresh view of the Punk movement, through the lens of renowned photographer Sheila Rock. Browns will also be the exclusive book distributor until May 09th. Sheila Rock was party to numerous intimate moments of Punk. Her unique perspective comes through her portraits of influential acts including The Clash, The Jam, Generation X, Siouxsie & The Banshees, The Subway Sect, The Damned and the Buzzcocks. She also documented some notorious yet till now unseen events in punk history such as The Moors Murderers rehearsals.

PUNK+ chronicles both designer and street styles between 1976-9 that had such an effect on fashion, society and politics, including Vivienne Westwood’s shop SEX as well as BOY, Robot and Acme Attractions. It is a fascinating insight into one of the most influential transformations of music and celebrates the scenesters who were the punk audience, and the designers that clothed the movement. As Paul Simonon (The Clash) comments: "This book is a great photographic record of a major shift in British street fashion". Sheila’s conversations with Chrissie Hynde, Tony James, Don Letts, Jeanette Lee, Glen Matlock, Chris Salewicz, Jon Savage, Steven Severin, Paul Simonon, Jah Wobble and more, provide an illuminating commentary on the punk phenomenon. As she observes "Punk was all about changing and surviving". All books are numbered and signed and feature 199 full colour and black and white photos from Sheila Rock's personal archive. The foreward is written by Nick Logan the Editor of The Face magazine and there are captions and quotes from a host of Punk Rock luminaries including Paul Simonon, Chrissie Hynde, Jah Wobble, Don Letts, Chris Salewicz, Glen Matlock and Rob Symmons from The Subway Sect.

Subway Sect by Sheila Rock
USA-born, Sheila Rock has lived in London since 1970. Her photographic career took off in 1980 on The Face magazine. Sheila exhibits regularly in London and internationally. Her portrait work includes a wide range of entertainment and music glitterati, and her editorial work appears in publications from Vogue to The Sunday Times. Her work can also be found in the permanent collection of London’s National Portrait Gallery. She is currently working on a number of fine art projects. PUNK+ is her second book.

The Damned by Sheila Rock
FirstThird Books is an independent publishing company specialising in high quality music photobooks and PUNK+ is Limited to 2000 numbered and signed books, including 300 deluxe versions exclusively available through the FirstThird Books website. PUNK+ is the second in a series of limited edition titles, following the soon to be sold-out book on the legendary Indie icons Felt. This book features some excellent early Felt photographs by Retro Man Blog's Paul Slattery.

Generation X  by Sheila Rock
Paul Weller by Sheila Rock
Siouxsie by Sheila Rock
All photos are copyright Sheila Rock & used with permission.
With many thanks to Lee at [stop] Press and Janet at FirstThird Books.

Sunday 28 April 2013

The Bermondsey Joyriders, The Witchdoktors & SuperMinx '70 Live at The Fighting Cocks, Kingston June 14th

T.H.E. Promotions presents an evening of great British Rock 'n' Roll at The Fighting Cocks Kingston-upon-Thames on Friday June 14th, featuring...

The Bermondsey Joyriders claim all the credentials of a bonafide ‘77 super group, pooling the hard-won experience and history of three veteran Punks. Founding members Gary Lammin (vocals/guitar) and Martin Stacey (bass) cut their teeth in the Joe Strummer-produced Little Roosters and Generation X precursors Chelsea respectively, whilst recent recruit Chris Musto (drums) is a sticksman of some credentials – having previously played with Johnny Thunders, Joe Strummer and Nico, to name but a few! 

The WitchDoktors play gloriously catchy Supercharged Punk Rock'n'Roll - a healthy dose of '70s Punk Rock, a good ol' full measure of trashy rock'n'roll-a-billy, a dash of '60s Psyche-Out Garage, and a bitter twist of country. 

The SuperMinx '70 are all about foot-stomping Punky-Mod-Glam with catchy choruses and sloppy solo's. The sound of English cars with fins, bench seats littered with Jackie magazine and Spangles wrappers...happy days!

Doors open @ 7pm / Admission £7.00 /  Tickets available from We Got Tickets

Thursday 25 April 2013

Introducing: The November Five - If You're Satisfied You Are Dead

"If You’re Satisfied You Are Dead" is not just the debut album from The November Five, it’s a passionate and furious riposte to the spurious notion that we should "Keep Calm and Carry On". In an age where the good are turned bad and the blameless are demonised, these are anthems for the austerity that tackle head-on the desperate and savage times we find ourselves in. Inspired as much by the sound of your neighbours arguing at 3 o'clock in the morning, the wailing of sirens and the crashing of doors in a dawn raid as they are by their musical heroes, The November Five create a rock'n'roll noise that's made when MENSA collides headlong into ASBO. The November Five are as mad as hell and are asking the right questions. And they want you to get mad, too. Because if you’re satisfied…well, we all know the answer to that one...

The November Five's first two singles, "Closure" and "Awake in a Daze", received international radio support from stations as varied as BBC 6 Music, Xfm, Radio 1, LA’s KROQ and others across Europe and South America. "If You’re Satisfied You Are Dead" delivers on their promise. The album was co-produced by The November Five and Brian O’Shaughnessy whose previous production credits include Go-Kart Mozart, Primal Scream and My Bloody Valentine and it has been praised by Shindig magazine, The Quietus and Vive Le Rock amongst others.  For a debut, it's a thoroughly satisfactory album, brilliantly constructed from start to finish. The songs are lean with a great use of space and atmosphere, allowing singer Joe Cribbins' voice to shine. There's some mightily impressive guitar work too, sometimes simple yet always effective, there's no unnecessary excess. The band clearly understand dynamics and know how to reign it in with a Post-Punk approach of, say Wire or Mission of Burma. The variety on offer is also impressive, if you were to pick a track at random it would probably not be representative of the album as a whole, although the band do have a strong identity and sound. For example the first track "Here We Come" is a spacious atmospheric number that recalls early Echo & The Bunnymen, but then they can rock out like Radio Birdman. "Good To Be Alive" has Joe crooning like Iggy Pop on "Risky" over a slow jazzy drum beat whilst "Good Cop Bad Cop" reminds me of the highly underrated Radio 4 with it's call and response vocals over some great funky bass and drums. "Control" is a powerful number with a nice Pixies chord change and the album ends on the mellow "Reach Out" with a nice synth undercurrent and some lovely chiming guitar work. It's a great finish to an excellent album.

Joe Cribbin – Vox and Bass
Chris Maciejewski – Guitars and Keyboards
Julian Marszalek – Guitars and Vox
George Phillips – Drums and Percussion

You can check out more information on The November Five at their official Facebook. We also played a track from the album in Episode 7 of Retrosonic Podcast, go on, have a listen...

With thanks to Julian Marszalek.

Tuesday 23 April 2013

Introducing: The Hypnotic Eye - Fuzzed-up "Slightydelic" Garage Rock

The Hypnotic Eye are a South London based Flower-Punk band who play abrupt, "slightlydelic" Garage Rock. They are due to release their debut album "The Optical Sound of The Hypnotic Eye" very soon, and if their excellent singles are anything to go by, it will be one hell of a record!  Actually, there will be a Hypnotic Eye onslaught in the near future, as they are already in the process of recording their second album, live in the studio, with the band claiming "It's a lot more raw and darker in places and it's going to be in your face and louder". The band also love their vinyl, both their singles have been released on this format and I managed to get hold of a copy of their Record Store Day exclusive 7" down at London's best record store, Casbah Records in Greenwich. It's a split single featuring Mod Freak-beat legends (and Marc Bolan's first band...) John's Children, who perform "Cornflake Zoo" on one side with The Hypnotic Eye contributing a cover of the John's Children classic "Smashed! Blocked!" on the flip-side. Limited to 300 copies, the split 45 was released by Downtown Sound for Record Store Day 2013 and is distributed by Cargo Records. It also boasts fantastic cartoon cover art by Marty Street at Cartoon Workshop.

The band's debut single "Marianne" featured guest appearances by Rhys and Joe from The Horrors and the B-Side was a cover of The Omens track "Searchin'". Latest single "Satisfied" is a masterpiece of fuzzed up Garage Rock and the record also features another excellent cover version, this time The Human Expression's "Readin' Your Will". I'm really looking forward to catching the band live and hearing both their albums and will be sure to report back about them.

Here's the video to the excellent "Satisfied"...enjoy!

We played a Hypnotic Eye track on our latest episode of Retrosonic Podcast, listen here.

To keep up to date on all band news, the debut album release date, tour dates and how to get hold of their previous singles, check out  The Hypnotic Eye official web-site. With thanks to Matt.

Monday 22 April 2013

Introducing: Sid Sings - a Deliciously Dark and Dirty Blues Explosion...

Making their first appearance on the Blog, I'd like to welcome Sid Sings, a great band who I've only just discovered through singer Nikki Brook's radio show, where she recently had The Fallen Leaves in as special guests. I got hold of their excellent album "Notes From Underground" and equally good E.P. "Make Me Howl", which both came thoroughly recommended, and I've been hooked. The E.P. features one of hell of a stand-out track in "Caught In Black", where Nikki sings the verses in French before it explodes into a chorus to die for. It's one of my tunes of 2013 so far and a must to add to the playlist for our next episode of Retrosonic Podcast. Anyway, I got in touch with the band to find out a bit more...

Sid Sings are "a deliciously dark and dirty Blues-explosion for the True Blood generation"...
One vocal, one guitar and pounding drums is all Sid Sings need to create their raw Alternative Blues sound that has lead critics to describe them as "...a female Robert Plant fronting The Black Keys". Known for their full-on live show, they have headlined many London venues including The Blues Kitchen, The Barfly and The Borderline and have also shared the stage with The Jim Jones Revue, Hugo Race and The Fatalists, Mama Roisin, Yat Kha, Nine Below Zero, Eli Paperboy Reed, Johnnie Bassett and Ten Years After. They have even supported Bruce Foxton and Rick Buckler as From The Jam at The Forum in Kentish Town. 

They have also appeared at various Festivals including Guilfest, Gold Coast Ocean festival, Nozstock, Avant Garde Blues Festival in Italy and Cognac Blues Passions Festival in France where they were named band of the day and stars of the "Nu–Blues". The local press described their performance as "mind blowing".

The title track from Sid Sings' E.P. "Make Me Howl", was recently named "Best on the Net" by Tom Robinson on his BBC Radio 6 show. The band comprise vocalist Nikki Brooks and guitarist Sandy Michie as the core duo, but are sometimes joined by drummer Dan in larger venues. They have recently come back from  France supporting "Ten Years After" and played for the first time in Paris at a great little venue called La Feline.

“With the help of sultry Nikki the band is going from strength to strength, bringing together their own sound punctuated by Nikki’s teasing and sexy voice and interpretation. Not only are they talented musicians but they are also great songwriters as demonstrated by the twelve songs they wrote for this album, taking inspiration from the likes of Robert Johnson, Seasick Steve, White Stripes and The Sex Pistols. Here you have a hotter Blues Rock, adding spice to the current delights in the Blues Kitchen" - Blues Matters Magazine

"Dead good and dead sexy" - Unpeeled Magazine

"Mixing PJ Harvey's archness with Debbie Harry's sultry caress. Shining a bright light into the typical murk of swamp blues and revealing its cross-over potential into mainstream pop"
- Whisperin'an'Hollerin' website.

Here's a great video for "Death Rattle Boogie" from the album "Notes From Underground".

Nikki also hosts her own Alternative Blues radio show on Resonance 104.4fm called "House Rent Boogie". She was asked to do her own show after Sid Sings were guests on Resonance a couple of years back. Nikki gets Bands to do a live set and then asks them to bring in songs from their childhood that inspired and influenced them. Her playlist can range from someone traditional like Mud Morganfield, but then branch out into Garage Rock, hence her recent session with Retro Man Blog favourites, The Fallen Leaves. Nikki also has her own "House Rent Boogie" Blog to go along with the show, so please check it out for news and reports and photos from the sessions.

Sid Sings will support the great Killer B's at The Half Moon in Putney on Thursday May 09th, and I hope to get down to the show to do a review. Check out the band's official Sid Sings web-site for further news, gig dates and where to buy the album "Notes From Undergound" and the "Make Me Howl" E.P.

Friday 19 April 2013

A Musical Celebration of Jeff Munday's Birthday: Featuring The Fallen Leaves, The Past Tense, The Legendary Groovymen and The SuperMinx '70

Jeff Munday "guesting" with The Fallen Leaves - Photo by Steve Worrall
DJ and dapper Man-about-town, "Chelsea Jeff" Munday, celebrated his birthday in style last week at the William Morris in South Wimbledon with a great line-up of bands that bore close resemblance to the last Retro Man Blog Night at the Half Moon in Putney. The evening kicked off with The Past Tense, who played their danceable little garage pop nuggets to perfection. Drummer Warren Samuels and bassist Ken Halsey are getting a reputation as the best rhythm section on the circuit, and tonight Warren had the crowd's mouths agape at one particular point in proceedings with some tremendous drumming. They ended on the Quadrophenia tribute "Jimmy's Love Song" from their excellent debut album "Take Three" and singer and guitarist Andy Norrie-Rolfe performed a perfect Pete Townshend leap to round it all off, captured here by Paul Slattery...

Andy takes off! The Past Tense by Paul Slattery
Next up were The Legendary Groovymen, who are one of those perfect party bands, with their mix of catchy originals and a choice selection of cover versions including songs from The Jam, The Strangeloves and a cheery "You Need Wheels" by local heroes The Merton Parkas.

The Legendary Groovymen - Photo by Paul Slattery
It was my first time to see The SuperMinx '70 and they were a pleasant surprise - off stage I'd always seen singer and guitarist Paul Osborn dressed to the nines, perfectly suited and booted, so I was expecting their sound to be more of the Mod persuasion. However, the band are refreshingly different - on stage Paul was more casual - wearing a Mott The Hoople T-Shirt that gives a slight clue to their sound. They play brash South London street-tough tunes nicely augmented by Sax and Trumpet. There's hints of the rougher bovver-boot end of British Glam Rock such as The Hollywood Brats and Jook.  If you've ever heard the early demos of the Sex Pistols where Glen Matlock plays his melodic bass lines then you might get an idea where SuperMinx are coming from. Paul's a great singer and his lyrics are also original and amusing. Unfortunately, the band have not yet been in the studio, but I am eagerly awaiting their first recordings and look forward to seeing the band again.

The SuperMinx '70 - Photo by Paul Slattery
The Fallen Leaves close the show with their usual brilliant set, I've already waxed lyrical about The Leaves so many times on the Blog, but they really are the best band out there playing now. Tonight they wow the crowd with their Punk Rock for Gentlemen! Jeff Munday gets the ultimate birthday present, he gets to join in on backing vocals on "Trouble" can't buy a gift like that!

The Fallen Leaves - Photo by Steve Worrall
In the audience were spotted members of The Aadvarks, The Onlookers and The Transients and Ray Gange, star of the Clash's "Rude Boy" movie, was also there. So, a great night of music in celebration of Jeff Munday's birthday, brilliantly organised by Paul Osborn, Paul Philips and Tony Holton. Cheers Jeff! Here are a few more photos from the evening.

The Past Tense - Photo by Steve Worrall
The Legendary Groovymen - Photo by Steve Worrall
The SuperMinx '70 - Photo by Steve Worrall
Rob Green of The Fallen Leaves - Photo by Steve Worrall
Bill Lewington & Matthew Karas of The Fallen Leaves - by Steve Worrall
Rob Green of The Fallen Leaves - by Steve Worrall
Rob Symmons of The Fallen Leaves - by Steve Worrall
Birthday Boy Jeff Munday with Rock Photographer Paul Slattery - by Steve Worrall
Thanks and "hello" to all the bands, Jeff, Paul Osborn, Paul Philips, Tony Holton, Paul Slattery, Andy Norrie-Rolfe, Les, Albert, Emer, Adam, Ray Gange and Mark Leech.

Saturday 13 April 2013

Elephant Stone: New Album "Elephant Stone" Out Now!

Elephant Stone - Photo courtesy Crash Avenue Management
Montreal's Elephant Stone have just released their second album entitled "Elephant Stone" and it's already vying with The Fallen Leaves' excellent "If Only We'd Known" as my favourite album of the year so far. Elephant Stone were formed in 2009 by sitarist/bassist Rishi Dhir following the break-up of the highly rated High Dials. As one of the most sought out sitar players in the Psychedelic music scene, he has recorded and toured with The Black Angels, Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Horrors, The Soundtrack of Our Lives and many more. In 2009, the band released their debut album, "The Seven Seas". Brilliantly melding Rishi’s obsession with the perfect pop song and the trippiest raga, "The Seven Seas", was warmly embraced by the global Indie/Psych scene and short-listed for the 2009 Polaris Music Prize. 2010 saw the release of "The Glass Box E.P.", a 5-song suite of inspired Power-Pop and Psychedelia, a supporting slot on the Brian Jonestown Massacre’s North American tour, European/UK tours with sold-out dates in London and Berlin, and festival appearances at Iceland Airwaves, Osheaga and SXSW.

Now 2013 sees them back with a stunning multi-layered album that just grows mightier with each listen. First track "Setting Sun" is a strong opener, built around an insistent guitar riff it sets the tone perfectly for what is in store. "Heavy Moon", the new single, is underpinned by squalling backwards guitar and the main tune is carried by the bass and vocals. It has the discordant feel of "154" era Wire, where they kind of make you work a bit, forcing you dig around in the layers and red-herrings of feedback to find your reward. "Masters Of War" is an uptempo rocking number, with the guitar motif riding beautifully over swelling keyboards with shades of early R.E.M. in places. Elephant Stone, although often touted as a Psychedelic band, have far more eclectic influences than the usual Sixties sounds that may originally spring to mind. Of course, Rishi's use of the sitar and more traditional Indian music adds a thoroughly unique aspect to their sound, but they also encompass British Beat bands, The Zombies, and on occasion (as their choice of band name suggests...) Brit-pop and the so called "Shoe-gazing" scene of Ride and My Bloody Valentine. Then we have "Hold Onto Yr Soul" which shows another side, where Teenage Fanclub and Big Star spring to mind. "A Silent Moment" starts off with a Brian Jonestown Massacre style atmosphere which then melds beautifully into Indian chanting and tabla. It's a mantra, it could flow for ever but with this album, the band have decided to stick to a more concise format, and each song is cut back, nothing outstays its welcome. "Looking Thru Baby Blue" is a beautiful song, with a magical chorus and great guitar riff, it's one of the highlights of the album. If it was released as a single I think it would be regarded as an equal to Edwyn Collins' "Girl Like You" as a left-field pop gem.
Rishi at The Lexington, London by Steve Worrall
Then the Sitar finally makes a welcome, starring appearance on the swirling "Sally Goes Round The Sun" but the great thing about Rishi is his versatility with the sitar. It's not all traditional Raga styles, as here he uses the instrument in a short 2 two minute blast of instrumental perfection. "Love The Sinner, Hate The Sin" was previously released as a single, and it quickly established itself as one of my tracks of 2012. A faultless piece of harmonic psych-pop bursting with melody and heart-tugging lead guitar. The swaggering "The Sea Of Your Mind" is more of a coming together of Elephant Stone's musical philosophy as you get it all in eight and a half minutes of blissful music. Here the guitars battle with the sitar and the traditional rhythms mesh with the rock drums to create a wonderful maelstrom of textures. The album closes with "The Sacred Sound" with it's slightly treated vocals and string arrangement calming things down to provide a warm and thoroughly satisfying end to a quite remarkable, uplifting record.

2013 will see the band tour the world, spreading their Psychedelified-Hindie-Rock mantra, spending most of April on a tour of the US and Canada with The Black Angels, check out the band's official Elephant Stone web-site for full details on venues and dates.

Elephant Stone is:
Rishi Dhir: Vocals, Bass & Sitar
Gabriel Lambert: Guitar & Backing Vox
Stephen Venkatarangam: Keyboards, Bass, Sitar & Backing Vox
Miles Dupire: Drums

You can read a review of the band's last London show on the Blog here. Check out more information on the band at their management company Crash Avenue or at the band's official web-site. We also play a track from the new album on the latest Episode of Retrosonic Podcast, you can listen to or download for free direct from the Retrosonic Soundcloud site.

Thanks to Jeffrey at Crash Avenue and Rishi. 

Thursday 11 April 2013

Retrosonic Podcast Episode 7: "Because I'm in love with Cathy McGowan"

Welcome to Episode 7 of Retrosonic Podcast. Steve from Retro Man Blog and Ad from The Jetsonics play a selection of Punk Rock, Soul, Garage Rock, Psychedelia, Mod and weird stuff...Generation X praise Rock 'n' Roll, Denim bury it...The Stranglers old versus new, there's classic New York sleaze from Wayne County & The Electric Chairs, Heavy Mod from The Loop and some groove from the Soul President. Hear a Stiff Records classic by Graham Parker and The Rumour and discover the Slightlydelic Garage Rock of The Hypnotic Eye. There's Southend's finest in the highly rated Eight Rounds Rapid and Wilko at Koko. Plus there's Hindi-Rock raga from Elephant Stone, the atmospheric guitar sound of The November Five and sausage based mayhem from King Salami & The Cumberland 3...And yes, we do manage to squeeze in our now traditional Graham Day track, this time a soulful slice of genius from The Prisoners. All this plus the usual waffle, reminiscing and news about the Hipsville Weekender and the "Locations" Art Exhibition featuring Gaye Black (Advert), David Apps from Artificial Designs and Lynne Blackburn and Ian Bailey from Hippo Screenprinters.

If you liked the bands and are interested in any events featured in the news section then please kindly take the time to click on the highlighted links and check out their web-sites to investigate further...Many Thanks! Steve & Ad.
Don't forget all previous Retrosonic Podcast Episodes are still available and as well as the regular shows there are various Special Editions featuring interviews with a wide range of personalities. The Fallen Leaves "Simple Songs for Complex People" a story in two parts, is a must for any music lover.  TV Smith from The Adverts treats us to an exclusive live acoustic session, Mattias Bärjed takes us on a journey from the Nymphet Noodlers to The Soundtrack of Our Lives, his successful movie and TV soundtrack work to his brand new band Free Fall. We have some demo versions and unreleased tracks from Mattias Hellberg's forthcoming album, JC Carroll from The Members takes us on a little Punk Rock trip and there are exclusive unreleased solo songs from Ian Person from The Soundtrack of Our Lives. There are also special reports on various music related topics such as the Swedish music scene  which includes interviews with Ann-Sofie from Spiders, Bruce from MUG Music store and Wayne Lundqvist-Ford from the Gothenburg based Ice Cream Man Blog. There are looks into the contemporary Mod scene, Paul Slattery's adventures in Rock and Roll Photography and much more...

Tuesday 9 April 2013

The Godfathers - Live at Guildford G-Live

The Godfathers - Photo by Steve Worrall
The Godfathers are back with a bang! The brand new album "Jukebox Fury" is stuffed full of top tunes and riffs and positively bristles with all their classic trademarks; Peter Coyne's sneering delivery and world-weary cynicism, the stinging guitar riffs and powerhouse rhythm section, it's all here. Original Sid Presley Experience guitarist Del Bartle is back with his old colleagues, the Coyne brothers again and contributes some mighty fine songs to the album. Live he covers what was always a twin-guitar assault on his own, and although the band are lacking a bit of the Dollimore/Gibson-era stage visuals, musically Del covers remarkably well.

Peter Coyne - Photo by Steve Worrall
The band have been supporting long time pals The Stranglers on their lengthy "Feel It Live" Tour and this, along with overseas dates earlier this year, has seen the band tighten up considerably since the last time I saw them back at the Valentine's Day Massacre gig in February last year. Tonight, the band are allowed a generous 40 minute set despite being the support act, and they take full advantage, playing a perfectly balanced set of old classics and tracks from the new album. Peter goads the audience into letting loose, winding up the attentive but quiet crowd until they relax and join in the singing on some of the more familiar numbers. And there are a lot of familiar numbers to enjoy, kicking off with a three song blast from the past "She Gives Me Love", the first single to be taken from "More Songs About Love & Hate" and then two numbers from their faultless second album "Birth, School, Work, Death", the storming "'Cause I Said So", and "If I Only Had Time", two of my favourite Godfather's tracks.

The Godfathers - Photo by Steve Worrall
Next up is "I Can't Sleep Tonight" from the new album, a melodic bubble-gum Punk song which Peter introduces as their tribute to the Ramones. Then it's "Back Into The Future", the first of the new album tracks that originally saw the light of day way back in 2011. It's built around a Stooges-heavy guitar riff from Del, and Peter Coyne snarls every line with relish, twisting every syllable up and spitting them out with pure venom. It's a fantastic track, that proves that time has not dulled their South London gangster-chic aggression in the slightest. One of their best ever singles "Love Is Dead" is followed by "If I Only Could" from the new album, which should be earmarked for a future single, no mistake. We then get a real treat with "Public Enemy No. 1" the instrumental classic from The Sid Presley Experience. It takes me right back to those dark days of the mid to late '80's, that musical wasteland where only The Sid Presley Experience and later The Godfathers, were keeping that raw Rock 'n' Roll spirit alive for me.

The Godfathers - Photo by Steve Worrall
The band have always grabbed their influences, embraced them and then given them a mighty slap round the head, and tonight their cover of Lennon's "Cold Turkey" is just immense. Another new song from "Jukebox Fury" is next entitled "Primitive Man", which has brilliantly witty lyrics and a stick-in-your-head-for-days chorus. "Walking Talking Johnny Cash Blues" with it's Dr. Feelgood Wilko Johnson style choppy rhythm, gets a fair few more people dancing along and it's into another Sid Presley song. The familiar military drum beat heralds probably The Presley's finest moment "Hup 2-3-4", which they once performed live on the much-missed TV show The Tube. Then it's the only track from their debut "Hit By Hit", but what a track it is, "I Want Everything" is The Godfather's at their very best, and it perks the crowd up for the last song, the anthemic "Birth, School, Work, Death", a brilliant way to close the show. 

Chris Coyne - Photo by Steve Worrall
Credit to The Stranglers for letting The Godfathers support them, many less able bands might have been quaking in their boots to have to follow such an impressive set. Anyway, please make sure you check out the brilliant new album "Jukebox Fury", it is a stunning record and after a few patchy releases such as "Unreal World", the "Orange" album and "Afterlife", The Godfathers are now back where we came in, with a bang! You can read the review of The Godfathers 2012 Valentine's Day Massacre gig along with some excellent and exclusive Paul Slattery photographs, by checking out the earlier Blog feature here.

Del Bartle - Photo by Steve Worrall
Peter Coyne - Photo by Steve Worrall
The Godfathers - Photo by Steve Worrall
We also picked our favourite Godfathers track in the very first Pilot Episode of Retrosonic Podcast, find out which one we went for here...although, please bear in mind this is the Pilot, our very first attempt at a Podcast, so it is a bit rough top say the least...

Friday 5 April 2013

TV Smith to Play Live at the May 17th Opening of "Location" Art Exhibition featuring David Apps, Gaye Black (Advert), Lynne Blackburn and Ian Bailey

TV Smith the legendary front-man of The Adverts, will perform a short live acoustic set at the opening night party of "Location" Art Exhibition at Red Door Studios, East Ham on May 17th. The Exhibition features Photography, Screen-printing, Collage and Design from David Apps at Artificial Designs, Gaye Black (formerly Gaye Advert) and Lynne Blackburn & Ian Bailey from Hippo Screenprinters. We have already featured reports and photographs from some of Gaye's excellent Exhibitions on the Blog, you can check out "Punk and Beyond" and "Black Xmas". Also, David Apps talks about his Art and Photography in this special Episode of Retrosonic Podcast which also features his long time pal Dick York from Cryssis .

Don't forget that you can still listen to, and download for free, our TV Smith Special Edition Retrosonic Podcast where we talk to TV about his inspiring career in music and writing. The Episode is soundtracked with many great songs from all stages of TV Smith's musical journey and we are proud to present an exclusive acoustic session live from the Retrosonic HQ.

Gaye Black with some examples of her Art - Photo by Steve Worrall
We shall be sure to report back from the "Locations" Exhibition with more information on the Artists and the work that they have chosen to exhibit. Please check out the Red Door Studios site for more information and details on opening times and how to get there.

Tuesday 2 April 2013

Vic Godard & Subway Sect - Live at Monto Water Rats Kings Cross, London March 29th

Mark Braby & Vic Godard, Subway Sect, March 29th - Photo by Steve Worrall
I must admit that I hadn't followed Vic Godard's solo career very closely until I heard the excellent album "We Come As Aliens", which was released in 2010 back again under the guise of Vic Godard & Subway Sect. It's just that every now and then, an artist that I may have neglected - whether it's because they go off in a direction that doesn't appeal to me anymore, or I just lose touch with them for whatever reason - will produce something that connects with me and gets me enthused all over again. It's great when this happens as you can then go on a little voyage of discovery into the back catalogue, and sometimes it's almost like coming across a brand new band for the very first time. So, tonight it was especially pleasing when, following a brief poem and introduction from Jock Scot, the band hit the stage and strike up "Best Album", the first track off "...Aliens". "The Water Was Bad" from his Edwyn Collins produced solo album "The End of the Surrey People" is followed by the sublime "Stop That Girl" from "T.R.O.U.B.L.E." which is a beautiful song, and tonight it is one of my highlights. We get the double hit of two more great tracks from "We Come As Aliens" in "Rhododendron Town" and the superb "Back In The Community".

Mark Braby, Vic Godard, Paul Myers & Paul Cook - Photo by Steve Worrall
Vic has gathered a fantastic band around him, and despite the somewhat fluid formations over the years, I really hope there is more to come from this line-up. Apparently, it's the first time Subway Sect have performed as a six piece, with Yusuf B'layachi joining on acoustic guitar alongside regulars Mark Braby on Guitars and Kevin Younger on Keyboards and Guitar. Original Subway Sect bassist Paul Myers, once of The Fallen Leaves, is excellent as he locks into a tight groove with his ex-Professionals rhythm section colleague Paul Cook. They just seem to have that chemistry that binds it all together. Talking of chemistry, I really enjoyed the banter between Vic and Paul Myers, topics of conversation ranged from stealing chord changes from Buzzcocks to the terrible weather and even discussing the latest horse-racing tips.
Paul Cook & Paul Myers - Photo by Steve Worrall
I always thought Paul Cook was an underrated drummer, OK he might not be the flashiest showman behind a drum-kit, more a Charlie Watts than a Keith Moon I guess, but he has a solid yet soulful feel, that gets the toes tapping right from the start. Both sides of the soon to be released Record Store Day exclusive 7" single are played tonight, with saxophonist David Wright swelling the line-up to a seven-piece for "Caught In Midstream" and "You Bring Out The Demon In Me". Both tracks are superb Northern Soul styled numbers that keep the crowd dancing and the addition of sax really adds a depth to the proceedings.

Vic Godard - Photo by Steve Worrall
Then follows two raucous Subway Sect classics, "Ambition" and "Parallel Lines", which take the roof off the Water Rats. Although Subway Sect were respected and admired by their contemporaries, they never really seemed to gain the wider acceptance or acknowledgement from many Punk fans. This may be due to the fact that Bernie Rhodes cut short the progression of what could have been one of the most interesting and original Punk outfits, by sacking the band around Vic Godard before they could release an album. Hearing these songs tonight, they sound inventive and fresh and should rightly be lauded alongside all those more familiar Punk classics.
Mark Braby - Photo by Steve Worrall
Another track from "...Aliens" the languid "Music of a Werewolf" brings things down to a more sedate level with it's Bosanova vibe before the stomping Flamenco of "The Devil's In League With You". Then it's the upbeat and soulful "Won't Turn Back" before Vic announces that "we've had enough sophistication for the evening" and the band slam into "Nobody's Scared" and "Chain Smoking" from the old Subway Sect days. The band are called back for encores and we get "If We'd've" with it's pub closing time singalong chorus and "Empty Shell" and then it is all over with applause and smiles lighting up the Water Rats. Tonight, the set was perfectly balanced, with all aspects of Vic's eclectic career covered, from Blue-eyed Soul to Jazz, Swing, French Chanson or all-out guitars blazing Punk Rock, it was all crammed in there in what was a truly memorable gig.

Paul Myers & Kevin Younger - Photo by Steve Worrall
Subway Sect - Photo by Steve Worrall
Vic Godard & Subway Sect fans may also be interested in our special Retrosonic Podcasts with The Fallen Leaves, who feature original Subway Sect guitarist Rob Symmons and occasional Sect backing singer Rob Green, and did have both Paul Cook and Paul Myers in their early line-up. The two Robs talk about The Fallen Leaves story including the early Subway Sect days as well as playing some of their own influences and favourite songs. Both Episodes are also generously sound-tracked with lots of Fallen Leaves songs from all of their three albums and debut E.P. "Trouble". "Side A: Punk Rock for Gentlemen" and "Side B: Simple Songs for Complex People" are available to listen to or download for free at the Retrosonic Soundcloud site.

Vic Godard & Yusuf B'layachi- Photo by Steve Worrall
For access to more photographs of the gig you can "Like" the Retro Man Blog Facebook page and for videos of two songs please check out the Retro Man Blog YouTube Channel. We also play a favourite Vic track in Episode 6 of Retrosonic Podcast.

Check out the excellent Vic Godard & Subway Sect official web-site for tour dates, merchandise, news, and a comprehensive archive featuring previous reviews and interviews.